When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, not many people consider plumbing related goals. But if you’re a homeowner, doing so might help avoid major, yet common, plumbing issues.
To help you get the most out of your home in 2018, we’re reviewing three plumbing mistakes that could cause substantial damage to your home and bank account, and how to avoid them.
- Avoid Burst Pipes
When it comes to winter weather, sub-freezing temperatures are not a friend to your pipes. Often times, water inside those pipes will freeze and then cause the pipes to burst due to a build-up of pressure and expansion. Sadly, the worst-case scenario would be that pressure throughout all of your water pipes causes multiple ruptures, and your homeowner’s insurance may not pay for damages.
The solution? Look for your shutoff valve that will turn off the water to all of your outdoor faucets and pipes. It’s a simple way to make sure you won’t have a headache or an expensive plumbing bill coming up in 2018.
- Prevent Clogged Drains
Clogged bathtub, bathroom, and kitchen drains are common problems that are easily avoidable.
One of the biggest reasons that kitchen drains get clogged are F.O.Gs (fats, oils, and grease). At all costs, avoid pouring any of these down your drain. Throw away all grease when cooking, and wipe greasy pans down with a paper towel to catch anything left over. However, sometimes things slip past our radar, so every so often carefully pour a pot of boiling water down the sink drain. This will help push down any fat and grease that might be hiding in your pipes.
As for your bathroom drains, soap scum and hair are the biggest culprits in clogs. While it may not be possible to prevent the buildup of soap scum in your tub or bathroom sink drain, you can minimize the amount of hair that goes down the drain. Place a plastic hair catcher over the drain whenever someone uses the shower. The hair catcher will trap hair and prevent it from sliding into the pipe. The good news is that you can find them at home improvement, hardware, and grocery stores, which is an easy way to knock out this New Year’s resolution.
- The Kitchen Disposal is Not for Garbage
Although the thing that grinds up leftover food in your kitchen sink is called a garbage disposal, the name is misleading. While they are designed to grind up food waste, they have limits. Stringy items like banana peels and celery will get caught in the motor and jam the machine. Foods that are high in starch like rice and potatoes can also clog a disposal.
If you’re lucky, you can free up the jam with a few turns of the garbage disposal or hex-head Allen wrench at the bottom of the disposal. Don’t persist in trying to get the wrench to move, though. You may wind up breaking the disposal, and instead of paying a plumber for a service call, you may be forced to pay for a new garbage disposal and the cost of labor.
The policy “better safe than sorry” applies well to the garbage disposal. If you aren’t sure if it’ll handle it, better toss it into the garbage.